Guide to Independent Living in Nebraska
Nebraska is comprised of seven distinct regions and offers a dynamic environment with urban areas, a large park system with eight state parks and five national parks and restaurants to accommodate virtually any preference. Of the state’s 2 million residents, older adults make up over 16% of the population, and over the next few years, more residents will enter their retirement years. While the state’s overall cost of living is about 10% higher than the national average and taxes are relatively high, affordable independent living rates may offset miscellaneous living expenses. On average, Nebraska seniors pay $2,649 per month for services, which is about $300 cheaper than the national median.
Independent living is ideal for those who don’t need personal care services but want the benefit of the low-maintenance lifestyle community living provides. These communities offer convenient services, such as local transportation services, congregate meals and housekeeping and yard care, giving residents the time to pursue interests and hobbies.
This guide gives an overview of independent living rates in Nebraska’s major cities to help older adults make important decisions for retirement. It also discusses options for covering monthly fees, tips for finding local communities and free services available to seniors statewide.
How Much Does Independent Living Cost in Nebraska?
Note: There currently isn’t authoritative data on the average cost of Independent Living Facilities nationwide, so instead, we use the cost of Assisted Living to estimate it. Since the cost of Independent Living is typically 30-40% lower than the cost of Assisted Living, the numbers below were calculated by subtracting 35% from the cost of Assisted Living as reported in the 2021 Genworth Cost of Care Survey.
In Nebraska, seniors in independent living pay $2,649 per month for services versus the national median of $2,925, making this a relatively affordable option for care. The only bordering state with more economically priced services is South Dakota, where rates are nearly $500 lower at $2,178. In Wyoming, fees are a little higher than in Nebraska at $2,710, and in Iowa, seniors pay $2,839. Independent living communities in Kansas charge rates that exceed the national average at $2,977, and in Colorado, services cost $3,088.
The Untied States
The Cost of Independent Living in Nebraska’s Top Cities
Of the three surveyed cities in Nebraska, Grand Island has the cheapest independent living rates. Here, care costs come in well below state and national medians at $1,889. In Omaha, independent living communities charge $3,024, and in the state’s capital city of Lincoln, fees are slightly higher at $3,065.
The Cost of Independent Living vs. Other Types of Care
In Nebraska, older adults pay $1,842 per month for adult day health care, making it the most affordable senior care option in the state. By comparison, independent living is about $800 higher at $2,649. Older adults seeking residential communities that provide help with daily living activities pay $4,076 for assisted living, and those who obtain home-based care pay $5,148 for basic homemaker services and $5,339 for skilled home health care. Nursing homes charge the highest monthly rates, with residents in semiprivate rooms paying $7,483.
Adult Day Health Care
Home Health Aide
Assisted Living Facility
Nursing Home (Semiprivate room)
Does Medicare or Medicaid Cover Independent Living in Nebraska?
The short answer is no, Medicaid and Medicare do not cover the cost of living in an independent living community. That being said, those who need help with Activities of Daily Living (ADLs), may be able to take advantage of financial assistance programs in Nebraska to partially or fully cover the cost of care in Assisted Living. For more information about financial assistance for those who need help with ADLs, read our guide to Assisted Living in Nebraska.
For more information about other ways to make Independent Living more affordable, such as retirement funds, the sale of a home, etc, read the section below.
How to Make Independent Living More Affordable in Nebraska
Paying for independent living outright isn’t an option for everyone, and fortunately, older adults have several options for covering long-term care. The most common ways to pay for services include:
- Reverse mortgages: For those who own a home but don’t want to sell, a reverse mortgage allows them to tap into their home’s equity to help fund living expenses.
- Long-term care insurance: Long-term care insurance generally doesn’t cover housing expenses in independent living communities. However, some policies cover expenses, such as recreational activities, transportation and congregate meals, which can reduce overall expenses.
- Life Insurance: While funding long-term care isn’t the primary purpose of life insurance, some policies give customers the option to access their death benefit to pay for services.
- Annuities: Purchasing an annuity gives older adults a steady stream of income, which may supplement retirement income from other sources.
Free Independent Living Resources for Seniors in Nebraska
Nebraska has a range of free and low-cost programs and services for older adults, helping them make informed decisions about their independent living and payment options. Through the following resources, retirees can connect with information specialists, financial advisors and options counselors who help them find solutions for their long-term care needs.
|Nebraska Care Planning Council||Online Form||The Nebraska Care Planning Council publishes information regarding long-term care options in the state, veterans’ benefits and current issues that affect older adults. It also has up-to-date databases with resources for seniors researching reverse mortgages, long-term care insurance and private Medicare plans.|
|Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services||(402) 471-2307||The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services operates the State Unit on Aging, which administers a range of services to help older adults maintain their independence throughout their retirement years. Through this agency, seniors can find community-based resources, such as options counselors, volunteer-based transportation services, health and wellness screenings and social and recreational programs.|
|Retired and Senior Volunteer Program||(800) 942-2677||RSVP provides volunteer opportunities to those aged 55 and over. Through their local organization, older adults can serve their communities by volunteering in local schools, museums and performing arts centers. In exchange for their time, volunteers get benefits, such as supplemental security income, transportation reimbursement and invitations to recognition events.|
|Nebraska Department of Veterans’ Affairs||(402) 471-2458||The Nebraska Department of Veterans’ Affairs has trained specialists who help older veterans and their dependents access benefits, such as emergency financial assistance and Military Honor License Plates. It can also help individuals apply for federal benefits, including non-service connected pensions and disability compensation.|
|Nebraska SHIP||(800) 234-7119||Nebraska SHIP provides free, unbiased health insurance options counseling for older adults, helping them make informed decisions regarding their Medicare coverage. SHIP counselors can also help seniors apply for Medicaid, which may cover some services in independent living.|
|Legal Aid of Nebraska||(800) 527-7249||Legal Aid of Nebraska is a statewide program administered by licensed legal professionals. It provides free services to those aged 60 and over, including help with applying for public benefits, drafting wills and assigning powers of attorney.|
|AARP Nebraska||(866) 389-5651||AARP Nebraska provides up-to-date information on legislative bills that affect older adults and their public benefits. It also offers discounts for travel and entertainment and recreational venues throughout the state.|
COVID-19 Rules and Restrictions for Nebraska Independent Living Communities
The following rules and guidelines were obtained from dhhs.ne.gov, as well as other state-level government sites. Among others, these rules apply to independent living communities and assisted living facilities.
This data has been most recently updated on 2/8/2022, but keep in mind that COVID-19 is a rapidly evolving crisis, so all of the below information can change at any time. For additional questions and up-to-date information, you can contact your loved one’s senior living facility or your local Area Agency on Aging.
Visiting Loved Ones
|Can I visit my relative in person if he/she wants emotional support from me?||Yes (Conditions Apply)|
|Can I visit my relative in person for end-of-life compassion care?||Yes|
|Will my loved one be required to self-quarantine after I visit him or her?||No|
|Do I need to wear PPE and/or a cloth mask if I do visit my relative in person?||Yes|
|Are Hairdressers and other non-medical contractors still allowed in senior living facilities?||Yes|
|Does the state recommend or require that senior living facilities assist families with setting up virtual visit alternatives?||Not Available*|
|Are visitors being screened for elevated temperatures?||Yes|
|Are visitors being asked questions about health, travel, and potential virus contact?||Yes|
*NOTE: This information was not available for this state, contact your local area agency on aging or senior living facility for more information.
Outings and Group Activities
|Are residents allowed to leave the facility for non-medical reasons?||Yes|
|Are residents of senior living facilities who leave and return required to self-quarantine?||No (Conditions Apply)|
|Are senior living facilities required to cancel all group outings?||No|
|Are residents still eating together in the dining hall?||Yes (Conditions Apply)|
|Are facilities still allowed to host group activities within the community?||Yes (Conditions Apply)|
Safety Measures for Staff & Contractors
|Are staff members and contractors being screened for elevated temperatures?||Yes|
|Are staff members and contractors being tested for Coronavirus?||Yes (Conditions Apply)|
|Are staff members and contractors being asked questions about health, travel, and potential virus contact?||Yes|
Safety Measures for Residents
|Are staff members required to regularly screen residents for coronavirus symptoms?||Yes|
|Are residents relied on to screen themselves and self-report potential coronavirus symptoms?||No|
|Are staff members required to take residents’ temperatures?||Yes|
|Are residents being tested for coronavirus?||Yes (Conditions Apply)|